The SPIRIT initiative (our highly successful internet accessible robotic telescope program) completed its transition to ICRAR in 2016, including the creation of a new web interface.
Additionally, an article summarising the past 7 years of the SPIRIT initiative was written by SPIRIT Program Manager Paul Luckas, and appeared in the August edition of Australian Sky & Telescope.
This year’s project highlights included a variable star photometry project undertaken by students at Iona Presentation College. Target planning, data acquisition and data analysis – all critical components of observational astronomy – were the key themes of the project which ran for the first two terms of 2016.
Plans to enhance this project in 2017 are already underway, and will include submission of photometry to the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) – the global clearing house for such observations, providing yet another avenue for student data to be recognised by professional astronomers.